One of the best things about vacations is discovering new things. For me, one of those things is discovering new beers. Being a beer geek, I have a short list of beers that I really enjoy, and always have the thought in my mind to visit the breweries that I like the most. Luckily, here in the Traverse City region, one of my favorite beers is a staple in the area.
My family and I had the chance to swing by North Peak Brewing’s pub and restaurant to grab some beer and appetizers, and just enjoy the atmosphere. And atmosphere there was, based out of a historic brick building that used to manufacture candy. The interior of the building is gorgeous, with rough looking lumber everywhere, giving you a cabin like feeling. From looking at the brick exterior, I never would have guessed it:
We all decided on getting their sampler, which gives you their five standard beers, which we the elected for their three extra styles that are only available at the restaurant. All of the beers were amazing, with my attention focusing mostly on their Porter, but mostly on their Barleywine, which if they offered a sixer of that I would have taken home a case. Definitely a great representation of the style.
If you should find yourself in the Traverse City area, be sure to stop in and have a drink, you will be glad that you did.
Smuttynose Baltic Porter. This is a beer that I have wanted to try for some time now, finally had the chance the other day. Since dark, heavy porters are one of my favorite styles, it was inevitable that I would have to try this one out. And after just one bottle, I will say that this beer is going to be a staple in my arsenal.
Part of their “Big Beer Series,” this beer is only available is the larger, single bottle. Once opened and poured into your glass, it pours super dark with a decent sized tan head. The beer has a sweet smell of malts and chocolate. The taste follows suit, with added coffee flavors and a hint of vanilla. Lots of flavors are happening here, I will admit probably some that I am missing, but it is never overwhelming, it all balances nicely. This beer is an absolute pleasure to drink.
Thankfully Ohio is one of the 19 states that Smuttynose ships to. After this beer, when I see the brand I will be picking it up. Well done Smuttynose!
Be sure to check out their site here.
Had the chance last night to try this beer again. After my first tasting a while back, I felt that the beer was not right, carbonation wise, and that with the proper amount, it would be fantastic. The flavors blended very well, but overall the lack of carbonation made the beer, pardon the pun, fall flat. After having the beer last night on tap, I can say that it is an amazing beer. Everything in my pint glass was brewed to perfection. Last night was the evening of porters for me, and this beer topped the list out of the many. Glad to update this one, as it seems that my first go round was just a simple bad batch.
Click here to read my first impressions of this porter.
Well done Rivertown! I look forward to having this one again!
I do love history, and here in the Cincinnati area, there is lots of it. Case in point is the Roebling suspension bridge. Finished in 1866 connecting Covington Kentucky and Cincinnati Ohio, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It is a distinctive landmark here in the Cincinnati area. Just look at a couple pictures of this historical landmark:
Image from 1870, from Wikipedia Commons.
Image from 2005, from Wikipedia Commons.
Enough with the bridge talk, lets get to the beer. Enter Rivertown Brewing Company’s Roebling Imperial Robust Porter. Named after the very distinctive local landmark, this beer has big shoes to fill. Sadly, it does not fit the bill, or bridge, in this matter.
First off, I do like this beer. Nice notes of vanilla, chocolate, and coffee hit the taste buds in a pleasant manner. The flavors are very nice to the palate, but something is amiss. It is almost like the beer is flat. Not much carbonation going on with this one. Not that carbonation is a deal breaker, the mouth feel of this beer is not that interesting. It almost has a watery feel. The carbonation of this beer is the exact opposite of their Oatmeal Stout that I picked up last year. That beer had so much carbonation it tasted like a bad fountain soda. Another interesting aspect is that when poured, there is a very minimal head. What does bubble to the top is very thin, and bubbly it is. No lacing ended up on my glass after the thin head disappeared. Lastly, I would not call this an Imperial. That makes me think of big alcohol beers, and although I cannot find an ABV on this one, I doubt it is very high.
Hopefully, this is just a bad batch, or bad bottling. I really would like to try this on tap to see if there is any difference. Maybe it is the bad mojo of my Miller Lite San Diego Padres pint glass, since it is recommended that it is enjoyed out of a snifter? My next drink will be out of my snifter to compare. I feel that this beer has great potential, but just falls short of the huge historical shoes that it is trying to fill. I will keep trying Rivertown’s products, hopefully I will find on that makes me happy.